Your Guide to Answering "Tell Me About Yourself" in an Interview - Deepstash
Why Interviewers Ask It

This introductory question serves as an icebreaker to lend an easy flow to the conversation. It helps the recruiter to get to know you in terms of hard and soft skills.

It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate clearly and effectively.

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  • Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and possibly a recent achievement.
  • Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention a past experience that’s relevant to the job and company you’re applying for.
  • Future: Continue with what you’re looking to do next and why you’re interested in this job.
You do not have to respond in this order. Tweak it to suit you. Make sure to tie it to the job and company.

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Interviewers want to know how your answer about yourself is relevant to the position and company you’re applying for.

This is an opportunity to articulate why you’re interested and how your objective fulfills their goals. In order to do that, spend some time researching the company. If your answers resonate with them, it shows that you really understand the role.

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This isn’t the time to talk about your family and hobbies unless you believe that it would be relevant.

The norm in some countries might be to share personal details at this point. In the U.S. you should avoid doing so. 

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If your goal in an interview is to stand out among the applicant pool and be memorable, tell your story from a passionate perspective, even if that touches on the personal territory.

You might incorporate a sentence like, “I’m really passionate about x and y and so I was really attracted to your company…”

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Don’t waste this time repeating every single detail of your career. 

Think of it as a teaser that should attract the interviewer’s interest.  Give them a chance to ask follow-up questions about whatever intrigues them most. 

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Think through what you want to convey about yourself ahead of time.  See if the answer sounds solid and credible to you. Practice saying it out loud.

Be careful against reciting your spiel word-for-word. You don’t want to sound overly rehearsed. It is a conversation. Imagine yourself telling a story to a good friend.

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Make sure you understand who you’re talking to. You might give a different answer to a recruiter than to a prospective boss. 

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View this as your first impression. Wait for a good time to mention something like being fired or laid off from a previous job. Do not speak bad about your previous employer. It is a big turn-off. 

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As most hiring decisions are made in the first minute, you might only have one chance to make a good first impression. It includes your greeting, handshake, eye contact, and the first thing you say.

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